F/+ in the Pac-12: Finding the worst offense in college football

Jonathan Ferrey

Let's continue our tour of every major conference's F/+ ratings. Last time, I took you through the Big Ten. This time, I'll take you through the Pac-12. A brief review:

  • The better a team's offense is, the further "north" they are on the chart.
  • The better a team's defense is, the further "east" you want to be.
  • The best teams reside in the NE corner.

The gray lines on the chart are percentile rankings for offense and defense: The 0, 20th, 50th, 80th, and 100th percentiles are represented on the chart. The corresponding F/+ ratings are shown at the bottom and left of the chart (for example, a team in the 80th percentile on defense has a +8.2% F/+ rating).

In the chart below, the NCAA logo is the average for all FCS teams. It is (by definition) at the intersection of the 50th percentiles of offense and defense. Now that we're on our third conference, the chart is beginning to get crowded. Instead of using conference logos, I switched to colored dots for the conferences.

In the chart below, I added dots for every Pac-12 team covered in this time period (64 teams).

The "1" in the chart below represents the average F/+ offensive and defensive rating for every team who finished with the best record in the Pac-12 over this 6-year period.

Now, here’s a closer look at the Pac-12 champions over this time period. The blue dot is the average of all seven of these teams (there was a tie in 2007).

Observations:

  • Five of the seven conference champions are in the extreme upper right-hand corner of the chart (80th percentile or better on offense and defense). All of the SEC league champs were in this elite corner.
  • The 2008 USC team is the 4th best college football team from 2007 to 2012 according to F/+. The next-best Pac-12 team in this time period is last season’s Oregon team, which did not manage to win the league title (Oregon is the gray dot just inside of the "U" in USC.
  • In this six-year period, five Oregon teams have finished the season in the elite NE corner. No team in college football achieved this in all six seasons (not even Alabama!). Other programs with five appearances in the last six seasons: Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. Boise State makes four appearances.

Okay, now it's time for a little fun. For each team in the Pac-12, I used my "what have you done for me lately" ratings system: F/+ ratings for each team weighted this way:

2012: 40%
2011: 30%
2010: 20%
2009: 10%

I figure recruits kind of look at it this way. 70% of the rating is what has happened in the last two years...everything else is a foggy memory. Using this weighting system, I plotted the teams using the chart below.

As referenced above, Oregon has become an elite program in college football. Stanford is close, but not quite on Oregon's level. Meanwhile, USC has slipped down to second-tier status in the Pac-12.

Okay, one more thing. Let's take a look at the best and worst offenses in the Big 10 during this six-year period. I highlighted teams that appear on both top 10 or bottom 10 lists.

That 2008 USC team was really, really good. Their lost to the just-decent Oregon State team in Corvallis cost them a shot at Tim Tebow in the title game.

The 2009 Wazzu team has the worst offense in college football from 2007-12. The beat out ‘09 New Mexico State, ‘11 Akron, and ‘11 Florida Atlantic for this honor. They were truly terrible, scoring seven or fewer points in five games. My word.

Next up, the Big 12.

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